Last week our CEO, Jeroen Plink, presented to a room of technologists and lawyers on "Client-Facing AI implementations" at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in Chicago. 

This event was led by Daniel Linna, Senior Lecturer Director of Law and Technology Initiatives and Kristian Hammond, Professor of Computer Science and focused on how AI will impact the law, as it has many industries already.

Asking how AI will impact the law is like opening Pandora's box of theoretical questions. Ask a lawyer, a technologist and the general public what AI is and I am sure you will get very different answers. And that's before you even get to how these versions of the truth will impact the legal industry. 

Tackling some of these questions together, as Hammond and Linna are doing with their cross-disciplinary class of computer science and law firm students, is the best way to ensure the legal industry and law firms keep up with the pace of change. Pace will be driven by client wants and if they want innovative legal services they will get them one way or another. As Hammond is quoted saying in this Bloomberg Law article, “Essentially what happens is if there is a way to do something faster, better, cheaper and with fewer hours, and firms are not doing that, then you’ll get spin-offs into that technology and competition from them.”

This can all feel slightly overwhelming! So what's the answer? It's the same answer to 'how do you eat an elephant?'; one bite at a time.

A perfect example of this is document automation. It has been around for a long time, it's quite simple to understand (unlike AI) and it can quite quickly save companies time and money. Plink mentions one example from Clifford Chance Applied Solutions where "CC Dr@ft document automation technology, for instance, is being used by a large bank to do the paperwork for loans up to $30 million without the involvement of the bank’s legal department or outside counsel."

So that my friends, is how law firms and elephants are related. Pace should not a be a common factor!